Thad and Carlyle Wolfe Lee Art Exhibit

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By Tom Brannon

On December 2, 2021, Southside Gallery in Oxford, Mississippi hosted an artists’ reception for the first joint exhibition of husband and wife Thad Lee and Carlyle Wolfe Lee.

In December one usually sees depictions of sleighs, snow, and other such winter scenes, even though we rarely have such weather in the mid-south. Instead, Southside Gallery, on the Square in Oxford, Mississippi had a month-long exhibition of the work of Oxford residents, husband and wife artists Carlyle and Thad Lee, titled Murmurations.It was decidedly and refreshingly not set in a casing of ice and snow.  

Carlyle described it:  “This is our first collaborative exhibition as husband and wife. The work represents an expansive field of wildflowers in late summer, the Dixon Woodland Gardens in bright fall, wintery trails at Crystal Bridges, early spring on an Oxford early morning, and lush June in Cashiers, NC.” 

Carlyle’s paintings and Thad’s photographs examine intricacies and abstract patterns in the atmospheres they portray. Carlyle continued:

 “We titled the show Murmurations after discussing the graceful synchronicity of many birds moving as one. Thad loved the word and suggested that it conceptually structure our collaboration.  As we developed paintings and photographs about places we experienced together, it was a sort of dance.  I enjoyed responding to Thad’s colors and compositions, and Thad developed new techniques to introduce very painterly veils of color in his photographs.

“There are many moments of unity echoing between our distinct voices in the shared atmospheres they represent.  Then, in the back of the gallery, Thad’s Moon Paintings are a sort of brilliant solo. Thad developed the abstractions as décor for a key setting in one of his screenplays – a hotel on the moon – and he describes the process of making them as ‘painting with light.’

“My paintings and works on paper are about awareness of the natural world—becoming progressively, cyclically more present to its rhythms, gaining deeper understanding of its design, and acquiring direct experiential knowledge of its mysterious beauty.

 “Since 2001, I have been making contour line drawings of plants.  From the drawings, I isolate silhouette shapes that I cut out of paper and use as stencils to make oil paintings and works on paper – or cut out of metal to make sculptures. My work is cumulative in nature – gradually marking time and seasonal change, unity and variety, individual and collective beauty.”

 Carlyle produces her work in a rustic studio at her home near Oxford, where she has the company of her animals and plenty of outdoor space. Many of the works at this exhibition were line drawings (graphite on pape) and paintings of flowers (gouache on paper). Many of Thad’s photos at the exhibition were also of flowers from a close-up perspective that blend well with the paintings displayed, often on the same wall as Carlyle’s paintings. Some of Thad’s photos were taken at Point Pleasant Farm near Holly Springs, Miss. where Carlyle often rides her horse.

Carlyle has a Bachelor of Fine Arts from The University of Mississippi and a Master of Fine Arts fromLouisiana State University. She has had more than 50 gallery exhibitions and has won numerous awards for her art. Her next exhibition is in September 2022 at David Lusk Gallery in Nashville.

Carlyle boards her horse Posy with her trainer Robyn Miller at Point Pleasant Farm in Holly Springs. Miss. Carlyle told us about her horse and her riding:

“Posy was born at Camp DeSoto on Lookout Mountain.  I slept in the birthing stall for a week waiting and was thrilled to be there when she was born. From the beginning, it was clear that Posy has a big personality. Training with Robyn has been extremely helpful and enjoyable. We participate in a Wednesday group lesson focused on good communication, fundamentals, groundwork, and balance. I am also a social member of Longreen Fox Hounds. 

“Riding complements my studio work in a number of ways. Many of my experiences in beautiful natural spaces have been on horseback.  I really like to do one thing at a time, to focus intently. Both painting and riding require full attention. My time with Posy consistently leaves me incredibly uplifted and delighted.” 
To see more, visit her website:

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